Accra, May 23, GNA - Professor S. K. B. Asante, a Consultant and Former United Nations Principal Regional Adviser, said on Monday that regional integration was key for Ghana's human and economic renaissance and urged the Government to urgently establish the necessary technical skills and capacity for its implementation.
"Regional integration is crucial for our country's self-reliance and self-improvement," he said.
"It is crucial for our reduction of poverty and elimination of external pressures; it is indeed crucial for our march towards the much coveted middle-income country status," Prof. Asante noted at the opening of a Regional Cooperation and Integration Training in Accra. The training, organized by the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), would equip Senior Public Servants, Technocrats and Law Enforcement Agencies with technical skills and capacity to enable them to implement the Regional Economic Integration Programmes within the framework of Econmic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), African Union (AU) and New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
Prof. Asante said an efficient regional integration would enable Ghana to surmount the obstacles posed by the country's relatively limited domestic market and equally limited infrastructure. It would also permit the country to realise greater economies of scale and enhance its ability to trade on global basis.
He said Ghana's participation in the ECOWAS trade liberalization scheme would eliminate the barriers to the country's export to the partner countries, which would ensure development of trade between Ghana and those countries in a significant manner.
Prof. Asante said an enlarged market would also encourage expansion of the activities of the Ghana Export Promotion Council, Ghana Tourist Board, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Ghana Free Zone Board, Ghana Gateway Programme, as well as other private sector organizations and civil society groups.
He said Ghana would derive enormous advantage from regional integration in the areas of production and infrastructure development as well as monetary and financial cooperation to reduce the country's age-old dependency syndrome.
Prof. Stephen Adei, Rector and Director of GIMPA said regional economic cooperation and integration were necessary conditions for the long-term sustainable development of African countries. He described regional integration as a potent strategy for redressing the socio-economic situation of the Continent, low per capita incomes and narrow resource base.